The official Dropbox app for iOS is perfectly fine, but the folks at Tapwings thought they could improve it. With the new Boxie ($2 until Oct. 23, then $3) for iOS 7, they have…for the most part.
Boxie aims to “prettify your Dropbox.” It’s a nice-looking and easy-to-use app with a clean, iOS 7-friendly interface. (The software only supports iOS 7 or later.) Setup is simple. One tap, and the app connects to your Dropbox account. You press down on a file and drag it into its new home to switch folders.
Boxie does things Dropbox for iOS doesn’t. You can sort files by name, date (earliest or latest), size and file type. I love that. By comparison, the Dropbox iOS app only lets you sort by A-Z or newest-oldest. It’s worth noting, however, that Boxie’s sorting options apply to all your Dropbox files viewed in the app. The official Dropbox app lets you vary the file sorting from one folder to the next.
(File sorting in Dropbox, left, vs. Boxie, right)
Unlike Dropbox for iOS, Boxie also lets you easily view a list of revisions for specific files and then restore the one you want. Boxie’s search function lets you search folders, subfolders or all of Dropbox. The official Dropbox app only offers a Dropbox-wide search if you’re at your Dropbox folder’s root level. Otherwise, searches are confined to the folders you’re in.
However, Boxie’s offline file-access feature didn’t work for me. (Dropbox for iOS doesn’t currently offer this feature at all.) After marking a folder for offline viewing, I turned on Airplane Mode, then tried to access the files in that folder. The folder showed no items, and I received a network error message. I tried this a handful of times, with different folders, to no avail.
On the flip side, the official Dropbox app can automatic upload your camera images. Boxie doesn’t do this, but the developer says it will in the future.
Also worth mentioning: Boxie is currently only optimized for iPhone and iPod touch. iPad support would be ideal (and is promised in the future), because most people are more likely to work on documents on a tablet than on a smartphone. Dropbox is optimized for iPads.
Boxie isn’t currently available for Android, either. There’s an official Dropbox Android app, as well as third-party Android apps that integrate with Dropbox. Folder Downloader for Dropbox, for instance, lets you download Dropbox folders to your Android device.
Is Boxie worth $2 when the Dropbox app is free? Yes, if you use Dropbox a lot on your iPhone or iPod touch. Otherwise, wait until there’s an iPad-optimized version.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.